Far from any notion that the real disaster is yet to come, we should recognize that the disaster is totally here, simply not evenly distributed (to adapt what William Gibson said about the future). Is it that things could become very bad, or is it that things are already very bad? Is the current situation terrible, or is it already unspeakable? The question that contains the answer is: ‘For whom?’ For families torn apart by American inhospitality, the disaster is already here. For the young man slaughtered on a train in Portland for standing up in defense of women being harassed, the disaster is apocalyptic. For the people who live in zones where the ‘relaxed’ rules of military engagement are in force, life is the disaster, and nothing at all is intact.
The disaster is the core out of which reality unfolds. Everything else is epiphenomenal. The despot’s personal style, the vulgarity, the dyslexia, the hair, the crude sentences, these are surface effects. To lose sight of the core and to treat the epiphenomena as the reality is to risk becoming, oneself, disastrous. It would be a mistake to consider any single action undertaken by the current American president or government as ‘the straw that breaks the camel’s back’, just as it would be a mistake to think we are merely en route to the disaster. It is here, and if we did not prepare for it before, we must prepare for it now, now that it is here.
Teju Cole, aqui